What do you think of when you hear the term “brand”? Is it your business name? A logo, or a slogan? Ecommerce branding, just like any other form of branding, can be a scary task.
Many ecommerce entrepreneurs don’t pay enough attention to it while trying to build their ecommerce stores.
What your business is known for. How it appears. The way it makes people feel. These are all things that will affect the support you get from customers. If you’ve been wondering what your ecommerce brand is or should be, here’s some guidance that could help.
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Understand What A Brand Is Or Isn’t
Don’t think of a brand as just the small bits of information that represent or describe your business. Think of your business as a person. Is a person’s name the only thing you ever care about?
Your brand includes every feeling or expectation that people have towards your business. Any contact that they have with your business, intended or not, will shape your brand.
Everything, from the way a customer care person speaks to them, to the ads they come across, is a part of your brand. The things that people don’t know about your business, like which asset you got on credit, aren’t part of your brand.
When it comes to building a brand, there are two major factors; those you can control, and those you can’t. What you can’t control is what your customers talk about you behind your back, one to another. That’s out of your reach.
Which is why you should focus on what you can control. With these factors you can build a profitable and long-lasting brand. Start by defining the people you want to do business with:
What Kind Of Person Is Your Business?
Customers always see human elements within your business, especially since it’s humans behind every business. They also tend to relate and buy more from businesses in which they see a bit of themselves. They will also support businesses that resemble the people they like or admire.
List all the contact points of your business that somehow put across a message. This mainly includes the humans’ communication but also messages carried on other materials. A brand persona, just like a human personality, is a bit complex.
Here are three things to do when crafting a complete brand persona:
- List A Set Of Qualities
Come up with a few words that describe your business personality clearly and briefly. Funny, tough, carefree, sexy, smart, cool. sleek etc.
These are the ones you’ll cross-check with whenever you’re taking action. Is my Facebook announcement cheeky? Do my fashion store pages look sexy? Is my packaging glossy?
- Make A Promise
Say something to your customers that you will go on to deliver if they support you. A brand promise is usually closer to the value you give to those who give you their money. An example is saying that you’ll make the shopping experience faster, safer and more exciting.
- Start A Mission
A brand mission is more of a bigger goal that you work towards, even outside of serving your customers.
For example, if your store sells stationery, you can channel a piece of your profits to education. Tell your customers how a percentage of each order goes towards buying books and other scholastic materials for disadvantaged students.
How Does Your Business Look?
People are very visual and they like to see good looking things. How many things have you seen looking only one way? TVs, bed posts, water taps, cars, houses etc.
Your business is no exception. Find out all the things that people quickly see when they interact with your business. Your website, product packaging, staff uniforms, business cards, posters and other media all matter.
Choose a logo that is captivating. Ask yourself why the Apple logo has a bite in the apple. Were they trying to say it’s an apple you’ll like? Do other drawings of a basic Apple shape get your attention as much?
Pick your fonts and colors carefully. There are enough studies showing which colors people associate with danger, and which ones make people feel relaxed. When was the last time your appetite grew after seeing a black and white picture of a nice meal?
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Make words easy to read, but also stylish where necessary. There are several online design tools that can help. If you have the money, pay a more skilled design professional for this kind of work.
Keep in mind that a look can be changed over time. You should have a plan for those features of your business that may need changing from time to time.
For the uncontrollable parts, do not leave them to chance. In many cases, you can influence them indirectly. Let’s look at these areas in detail:
A Customer’s Experience
A customer shopping on your website may find difficulty simply because they are not that good at reading English. While that isn’t your fault, they can end up frustrated and feeling like your brand is discriminative.
Put prompts in place to let a customer know that they have the option of another language. That way, someone won’t waste so much time typing words in a search bar that bring no results.
Started a Shopify store? Here’s a manual on selling in multiple languages.
Customers who are very particular may be used to special order options. If they don’t find these on your site, or they happen to be limited, it may affect your brand negatively. Craft kind messages that let shoppers know when certain options are unavailable or limited.
Also make sure that this kind of information is available at the necessary stage. For example, with split shipment, let a customer know what will have to be delivered split, or what can’t be.
Withholding information so as to fast-track a sale could make a customer see your brand as dishonest. It’s better to risk driving a customer away, than make them repeat a process or withstand a decision they can’t reverse.
You can’t totally control what different people say about your brand on their own time. A lot of businesses suffer smearing for reasons that have nothing to do with their service.
Someone can say negative things about your business so as to push a friend’s business. Always put out messages thanking those who praise or recommend you. Where possible, reward them.
Be graceful in responding to complaints, especially on social media and other platforms with large audiences. A harsh response can leave your brand being looked at as arrogant and ungrateful.
Know Your Customer
While coming up with a brand, you might think of your customer even before you open. But as you do business, your customer is the person buying, not the person you wish would buy.
Create profiles that help you describe and group your customers. Find out details like their age, location, what they buy most and how much they spend.
Use this information to make your brand’s presence and image resemble that of your core customers. Knowing your customer helps you come up with ecommerce branding strategies that are flexible.
If your customers are very young, make sure your messages reference things they know. Go a step further by offering products they like and placing yourself on the social platforms they use.
Unify Your Brand Elements
Create a document that gathers every detail about your brand in an organized manner. Known to some as a brand deck or brand bible, it covers your look, your sound and everything else.
This serves as a reference point whenever different people do some branding work for you. A summary of this can be given to graphics designers, copywriters, animators, photo shoot stylists etc.
Learn To Borrow
Once you have everything down, figure out who resembles what you’ve come up with. Brand ambassadors and endorsement deals have a great lesson. If you put what you’re selling close to what people like, the two might be seen the same way.
While this tactic can bring instant success, it should be practiced carefully. Make sure your brand has a larger life of its own outside of its endorser. If the brands you associate yours with suffer negative publicity, the same might happen to you.
In conclusion, effective ecommerce branding addresses every point of your business that customers interact with. It pays close attention to customer behavior, and leaves room for evolution. One way to know whether your branding efforts are effective is to watch which new customers it attracts.
Successful branding also involves strong unity. Most people within the business and also outside it must have some similar things to say about your store.
Don’t be misled by a few sales. Take time to ask questions and invest in surveys. Try to include already existing customers and also those who aren’t buying yet.
Lastly, be willing to get help where you’re lacking. You don’t have to be the cool kid to throw a good party. Just know who the cool kids are, and give them what they want.
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